How to address employee disengagement

This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Melissa Mason 1 year, 7 months ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #94701

    Renata Porto

    I am wondering how to best regain employee trust or address issues with employee disengagement when taking over integration efforts, which from the start, did not implement the proper communication strategies. Efforts to be transparent at this time are just being met with skepticism by the staff from the acquired company. Any suggestions?


    Erik Cornelius

    Hmm. It’s always harder to regain trust after it’s been lost, but here are my thoughts:

    * Has there been an acknowledgement of what went wrong? Admitting a mistake frequently goes much farther than simply adjusting direction without ever recognizing that the poor communication happened.

    * Is the message being delivered by the same people? Sometimes, there’s a personality conflict, especially if the person who delivered the poor communication before is continuing to do it now. Is there an opportunity to shift the messenger in an effort to re-establish credibility?

    * When all else fails, are there individual conversations that can be had with key resources at the target? It’s a tough conversation to say, “We messed up – we need your help in getting things back on track. Do you have any thoughts on how we can overcome the obstacles we created?” Having a few one-on-one conversations and establishing new champions could be a good road toward rebuilding trust, though it raises the stakes considerably if you fail to implement their advice well on the second try!


    Ingrid Holbik

    One key to managing employee engagement is through leadership and mentorship. People managers have primary responsibility for managing the emotional temperature of morale and even more so in an integration.


    Frederick Byrne

    It’s difficult to regain trust once it has been lost. Not involving employees from the target company from the get-go can leave them feeling as if they don’t matter and are effectively the “poor relation”.

    Communication needs to be open and honest, with a clear message provided that these employees are valued by tip management. Efforts need to be made to ensure these employees feel like they have a voice and will have their questions answered re. Job security, future prospects and opportunities for growth.

    Assigning appropriate managers who can navigate the choppy water of emotions running high are key, as well as creating an environment that will be supportive and will ensure no further mistakes are made.


    Cheryl Taylor

    A clear understanding the culture is the base point for managing employee engagement. If the culture is understood and there is a desire to sustain it and not change it management will inherently know how to manage the employees. They will know what is important/not important; how to communicate; how to reward; and how to sustain desired resources.

    Employee disengagement occurs when resources determine they are not of concern; they are not communicated to; they don’t have a sense of control over their personal lives because information is not shared in a timely matter.


    Frederick Byrne

    Open forums for employees to discuss the issues which have effected them most. This could be round-table discussions, one-on-one chats, or an anonymous submission box. Once the key issues are identified, measures can be put in place to regain employee trust (improved communication, opportunities for work enrichment, promotion opportunities etc.).



    With the target company we acquired, they had a lot of communication trust issues even before we merged, so this disengagement sometimes stems from their previous history. We ran into some obstacles with our communication strategies, but implemented some creative solutions as well.

    – Only 1/3 of the target company’s employees had a work assigned email address, while it was a requirement at our organization
    – They have 240 locations in 26 states and spanning 6 time zones
    – Historically, communication practices for the target organization caused trust issues (i.e. they said there’d be no lay-offs then 2 weeks later laid-off over 100 employees from their headquarters; when site visits occurred with executives, people normally were escorted off the premises with the loss of their job, etc.)
    – Leadership changes in both organizations were not always announced, so there was confusion of who was responsible for what and who was actually responsible for the employee

    Opportunities/Creative Solutions:
    – Working on providing all employees an email address (branding is a concern as they are to keep their name until their 100th anniversary coming up in a couple years)
    – Scheduled Zoom calls on a weekly basis that allowed for an open forum for employees to listen in on different topics, ask questions, and get to know some of the updates first hand
    – All Employee Meetings were established on the target company’s side with the installation of their new President post-merger in which he talks about their service lines specifically and how we continue to be as one – also allows for questions and meeting new leaders
    – Send out a weekly (now bi-weekly) integration email to all leaders that can be shared with their employees on happenings with the integration
    – Performed a site visit to their only for-profit entity to see how they did things as they are extremely different. Focused on positive conversations and handling staff with “kid-gloves” to begin earning their trust. After day 1 when no one was escorted off the property, they talked about how the mood changed and they were more open to sharing information because they actually believed they were just there to learn more.

    Sometimes it takes some extra hand-holding and a lot of additional effort to try to regain employee trust, but you can’t rush them giving you the trust and acceptance. Actions speak louder than words (especially if everyone is bogged down with email), so look for different ways to share information to get employees engaged and hopefully more trusting.


    Melissa Mason

    Change management activities can assist with employee disengagement. Activities such as training on How to Manage Change, distributing taking points or FAQs for the management on how to talk to the employees about change and help reiterate the “Why” for the change. Creating teams of change champions made up of non-management employees that can assist in being champions of the change. Also employee round tables with leaders from the new organization where they can ask questions and receive feedback directly from the new company and start to build relationships with these leaders.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Loading.. Please wait